Sustainability and Recycling

Our strategies that continue to minimise our carbon footprint

The sustainability of finite resources, as well as the responsible recycling of reusable materials, to minimise our carbon footprint, has had a very positive impact on Consol Glass as a company and the people who work here. It’s why we’re committed to the cause, and we are constantly trying to one-up ourselves. Glass recycling isn’t just good for reducing our carbon footprint, it also creates jobs thereby providing a source of income generation for many budding entrepreneurs. 




As the largest glass manufacturer in Sub-Saharan Africa, we see it as our responsibility to drive positive environmental change in the packaging manufacturing industry, reducing the total carbon footprint of processed glass on the environment. To that effect, we’ve implemented new, holistic sustainability strategies that continue to minimise our carbon footprint to this day.

Thus far, it’s been difficult to measure the environmental impact of the complete lifecycle of glass, as well as other contemporary packaging formats, due to a lack of data. But at Consol, part of our role is to discover, collate and refine a complete understanding of the carbon lifecycle of glass, from cradle-to-cradle.

The cradle-to-cradle approach looks at the environmental impact of glass from the removal of the sand from the ground, through to manufacturing and delivery to our customers, and finally, to how it’s recovered and recycled. The goal is for glass to be produced, used, recovered and eventually recycled with the smallest possible impact on the environment.

Feature Sustainability


 This graph shows a comparison of the cradle-to-cradle carbon footprint on a typical serving size of 355ml over four territories, as compiled by Owens-Illinois.

A year-on-year study over four years of the glass lifecycle has shown that glass packaging has one of the lowest carbon footprints (cradle-to-cradle) when compared with other packaging formats.




South Africa consumes more than 3.1 million tonnes of glass a year, of which two thirds is reusable and can be diverted from landfills; in fact, glass accounts for 4.5% of all waste. As South Africans, we should be striving for a resource efficient economy where pragmatic sustainability measures – like glass recycling – drive waste reduction. And at Consol, we’re leading the charge.

Recycling glass isn’t about virtue signalling or patting ourselves on the back, it makes a real difference – saving energy, water and natural resources, lowering greenhouse gas emissions, while reducing the need for raw material and reducing waste at landfills.

That’s because glass is infinitely recyclable, without adversely affecting quality. Returnable (refillable) glass bottles, for example, can be used as many as 30 times before needing to be recycled, dramatically reducing our carbon footprint. By contrast, recycled glass (cullet) not only melts at a lower temperature, thereby reducing energy requirements, but nothing is lost in the melting process. For this reason, we use as much as 40% of cullet in our material batches. 

As a result, we’ve already invested more than R240 million in the equipment and processes required to recycle glass.

There are also more than 3,000 bottle banks strategically placed in cities throughout South Africa, to assist in domestic recoveries. This waste glass is collected by local, independent registered waste collection agents and sold back to the glass packaging industry.

Materials not recyclable through Consol include:

  • Ceramic cups, plates and pottery
  • Clay garden pots
  • Laboratory glass
  • Crystal and opaque drinking glasses
  • Mirrors, windshields and window glass
  • Heat-resistant ovenware (for example, Pyrex or Visionware)
  • Light bulbs, fluorescent tubes
  • Burnt glass

If you’re thinking about the environment, glass is the better choice. Let’s collectively reduce our carbon footprint by cultivating ethical consumption and recycling behaviours. 

Feature Recycling

Make the call to get involved:

Consol Glass

0861 28 55 38

011 874 2142/ 021 950 5100


The Glass Recycling Company

0861 24 52 77

011 463 5644


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